Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

Multiple-unit holdings yield attenuated endowment effects


Management Science



Authors / Editors

Burson K;Faro D;Rottenstreich Y


Publication Year



Previous endowment effect experiments have examined circumstances in which people encounter a single unit of a good (e.g., one chocolate). We contrast single-unit treatments with multiple-unit treatments in which participants encounter several units of a good (e.g., five chocolates). We observe endowment effects of typical magnitude for singleton holdings but attenuated endowment effects for multiple-unit holdings. Moreover, endowment effects consistently arise for singletons even as the definition of a unit is altered. For instance, participants holding one piece of chocolate show an endowment effect of standard size, but so do participants holding one box of chocolates. Yet the box contains about 20 individual pieces of chocolate, and participants given that many separate pieces show a substantially attenuated endowment effect. We thus propose the property of “unit dependence”: the definition of a unit can change, but contingent on any given definition, a pronounced endowment effect may emerge for singletons but not multiples.


Endowment effect; Loss aversion; Prospect theory; Value function; Query theory

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.